Galctic Empires is a dramatic tone poem telling of a musical journey through only three of an infinite number of galaxies, two foreign and one which is our own – Battlestar of the Andromeda Nebula, Eveningstar of the Magellanic Cloud and Earthstar of the Milky Way. This is one of first of Gillingham's wind ensemble works to showcase groundbreaking use of the percussion family.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 5 | Duration: 10:30
Oboe 1/2 & English Horn
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Eb Contralto Clarinet
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2
Bb Trumpet 3
F Horn 1
F Horn 2
F Horn 3
F Horn 4
Timpani (4 drums)
Percussion 1 (brake drum, snare drum, triangle, suspended cymbal)
Percussion 2 (bass drums, hi-hat, crash cymbals)
Percussion 3 (xylophone, 4.3-octave marimba, suspended cymbal)
Percussion 4 (bells, chimes, crash cymbals)
Percussion 5 (crotales, vibraphone, tam-tam, slap stick)
My lifelong fascination with the mysteries of the universe has come to fruition in Galactic Empires. Out understanding of distances on Earth, which have clear beginnings and endings, makes it inconceivable that the universe is endless. Galactic Empires is a musical journey through only three of an infinite number of galaxies, two foreign and one that is our own "Milky Way." To gain the inspiration for this work, I let my imagination run wild and envisioned each galaxy as having a particular aura that is reflected in the music.
The work is set in three connected movements, each representing a "star" in a particular universe:
1. Battlestar of the Andromeda Nebula
Within the Andromeda Nebula Galaxy lies a star where hate radiates into its atmosphere a smoky, black cloud forming a ring around the angry sphere. Close to the surface, one can hear the incessant drumming rhythms of war, for this is an empire bent on destruction of all other life forms on the galaxy. Across the jagged, dark, cold landscape are thousands of domed bases housing troops and weapons of annihilation Multitudes of amphibious-like alien creatures clad in silver and black armor move in and out of the domes while hundreds of disk-shaped airships land and take off from the surface. All of this occurring against the backdrop of a sky lit with explosions from other stars o the galaxy as they are one by one destroyed by the empire of the Battlestar.
2. Eveningstar of the Magellanic Cloud
In stark contrast to the Battlestar is the Eveningstar found in the center of the galaxy of the Magellanic Cloud. This is a place of beauty beyond words. Four suns of multiple colors shine upon this star making the sky appear as a huge domed rainbow. Life on the Eveningstar is one of tranquility and peace. The aliens of this star are thin, stick-like beings with oversized heads and large silver and oval slanted eyes reflecting warmth, understanding, and superior knowledge. The inhabitants of this star are the most advanced of the entire universe and exist in a sort of utopic state.
3. Earthstar of the Milky Way
The Earthstar is the most vibrant and eclectic star to be found in any galaxy of the universe. The humans who inhabit this star have a most interesting history that reflects both the most hideous atrocities and the most marvelous achievements of its people. It has the potential to achieve a status euqal to the Eveningstar of the Magellanic Cloud but must begin to learn from the mistakes of the past. Still, a sense of joy and celebration radiates from the surface of the Earthstar... an energy field created by unabounding faith and hope for humankind.
- David R. Gillingham